The welfare ministry will set up support teams nationwide to help people in the early stages of dementia deal with their everyday lives in their communities.
The locally based teams, to be composed of nurses and experts, will visit the homes of elderly people believed to be in the early stages of the cognitive disorder and act as a bridge to medical institutions.
The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to launch a pilot project in fiscal 2013 under a five-year action plan for tackling dementia.
According to the ministry, the number of dementia patients in mental hospitals nearly doubled from some 28,000 in 1996 to about 52,000 in 2008.
Under the support program, the teams, comprising roughly three members each, will show the family members of those diagnosed with early-stage dementia where to go for treatment and how to deal with the symptoms at home.
They will also ask doctors who make house calls and nursing care companies to help look after them.